In what could be the spark of a new age for religious freedom in one of the most repressive regions in the world, protesters have taken to the streets en masse in Iran to oppose the authoritarian Islamic regime.
This is not the first time that unrest has erupted in the country. In this particular instance, what set the ball rolling, so to speak, was the growing cost of poultry and eggs, which went up by 40 percent. While it’s not exactly known how long the prices would be inflated, avian flu concerns have been put forward as a culprit.
Not only that, but joblessness is still an issue in Iran, with about 10 percent of the country’s residents without a job. That said, this number is better than it once was, especially since 2015, when Iran started reducing the elements of its nuclear program in conjunction with a world powers deal. Jobs then were similarly affected, although later bounced back.
The protests started on December 28th, 2017 and quickly turned violent. As of January 3rd, 2018 there have been 21 reported fatalities, confirms Iranian state television. That number could still yet grow, even as the protests have started to lose steam and be ceased by governmental forces.
“Some armed protestors tried to take over some police stations and military bases but faced serious resistance from security forces,” added that television network of the violence.
President Donald Trump was an avid cheerleader for the protest movement. He has posted regularly on Twitter about the matter, noting how Iran is “failing at every level despite the terrible deal made with them by the Obama Administration.”
“The great Iranian people have been repressed for years…They are hungry for food & for freedom,” the president said. “Along with human rights, the wealth of Iran is being looted. TIME FOR CHANGE!”
Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister in Israel, essentially gave his backing to the protestors as well, stating that he thought Iranians were being “heroic” and “brave” and how he hoped for their “success in their noble quest for freedom.”
“Brave Iranians are pouring into the streets,” he said. “They seek freedom. They seek justice. They seek the basic liberties that have been denied to them for decades.”
In the days since late December, Mohammad Ali Jafari, Iran’s Major General, has quashed the demonstrations which had amassed thousands and thousands of protestors by early January. In fact, Jafari noted were up to 15,000 protestors in all.
“Today, we can say that this is the end of the 96 sedition,” Jafari explained. “There were a maximum of 1,500 people in each place and the number of troublemakers did not exceed 15,000 people nationwide.”
The word “enemies” was thrown around heavily in explanations from Jafari and others. The term seemed to be in reference to the protestors, although it’s not clear if Jafari and the Iranian government were talking about parties in Saudi Arabia, Israel, and even the US.
Indeed, “death to American mercenaries” was a popular chant in Qom. That’s just one way that these protests got out-of-hand. Protestors had at one point started shooting at a police station and bank near Isfahan. Although no one was fatally injured, it had already become clear that the original purpose of the protests had morphed into something far more sinister.
Rumors also swirled that up to three policemen died in West Azerbaijan. This news was reported on Wednesday, 1/3, and is unsubstantiated at this time.
The protestors in the street have started to lessen between Tuesday, 1/2 and Wednesday 1/3. Seven areas of Iran were primarily affected by the protests: Mashhad, Isfahan, Qom, Tehran, Rasht, Kermanshah, and Hamedan.
To be sure, the government in Tehran deserves nothing less than stiff opposition. The Islamic regime routinely silences the voices of minorities including Christians, openly threatens the United States and Israel, and is positioning itself to be a military power in the region.
President Trump did the right thing by publicly siding with the Iranian people.
~ 1776 Christian